The Heart and How-To of Missionary and Church Planter Assessment

May 14, 2012

assessment, Churches

I have facilitated the assessment of over 60 missionaries the past ten years.  The process brings me joy as I have the opportunity to dig into people’s lives, discover the fingerprints of God on a candidate and speak into the life of one who is seeking after God.  The process is tiring and a lot of hard work.  The reward is being used of God to encourage a brother or sister in Christ.

What does mustard have to do with assessment?

It doesn’t always turn out well though.  Sometimes a candidate totally disagrees with our assessment.  Other times, the assessment process has added ambiguity to an already complex situation.  Even in difficulty though, humor can rise to the surface.

Eight years ago I was working through a complicated candidate interview with our assessment team and I made a huge gaffe.  Instead of saying that I thought the candidate could not cut the mustard, suggesting that I wasn’t sure this candidate had what it took to be a missionary, I blurted out “I don’t think this candidate can cut the cheese.”  Needless to say, the committee erupted in hilarity and it took us a good ten minutes to regain our composure.

This week our International Ministries team is hosting an assessment center.  Four couples and one individual are coming to seek the Lord for the next step in their ministry lives.

Most candidates approach such an assessment looking for a “yes” or a “no.”  Often a yes or a no is forthcoming, but the heart of the assessment is to take a snapshot of the candidate’s journey so that we can help them to assess what God is doing in their lives.  Often times we are setting the table for the prospective missionary’s next step, rather than giving them divine authoritative revelation.

For information on the Converge Worldwide International Ministries Assessment Center, held 2-3 times per year, visit the MAC.

In fact, a missionary or church planter assessment center is one of many types of assessment – one of multiple steps in determining God’s plan for your life.  You are becoming more like the image of Christ and as such are on a personal developmental journey.  Consider these previous steps:

  • personal assessment – self evaluation of what God is doing
  • local church assessment – the evaluation of church leaders who have observed the candidate in both personal and ministry contexts
  • mission agency assessment – that’s what we do 🙂
  • on-field assessment – how do current missionaries view the candidate’s gifts, experiences and personality fitting on the field?  Plus, once the candidate is accepted and eventually reaches the field, how does he/she actually do on the field in the early months and years?
  • home assignment assessment – after the first term it is time to debrief, re-assess and determine what changes need to be made, what tools need to be added and whether or not the missionary should continue on.

Another day and another post will allow for further examination of the above points.

The heart of missionary assessment places the assessors into the very hands of God who will speak the truth in love.

Pray for assessors to get it right.

Pray for candidates to approach their assessments with a heart to which the Lord can speak.

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  1. Local Church and Self Assessment As Key Steps in the Missionary Call – Think Fireworks | FULFILL - September 14, 2012

    […] my previous Heart and How To of Missionary Assessment I mentioned five types of critical assessment that are needed for missionaries and church […]

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